Boardwalk Empire
Gimcrack & Bunkum

Episode Report Card
Joe R: A- | Grade It Now!
Gimcrack & Bunkum

Harrow pockets the leftover bones from his squirrel dinner (yum!) and asks about the dog. The men tell him that the dog's not even theirs, he just came around their way. "He's an old soldier," the younger one, named Glenmore, says. "Keeps on fightin'." Harrow asks what he's fighting for now. "You're gonna have to ask him," Glenmore says. He also says he's sleeping out there tonight, but the old one is going to head home. Richard says he should get home, and the old one offers him a ride. Glenmore tells Richard that he's out in these woods a lot, has seen people come out and get up to "all kinds of foolishness." That's not what these woods are for, he says, meaningfully. They're for hunting. "These woods are for living. Understand me there?" Richard says he does. Thanks, wise hobos!

Eli's in his garage, working on repairing a gun and getting drunk. His little son is there -- asks dad if his throat is still sore -- and for the first time in a season and a half, we get a little bit of shading on Eli's character. He's weak, he's whiny, he's got a persecution complex that could crush the boardwalk under its weight, but with little Brian here, he's actually a pretty good dad. You'd expect that under the circumstances -- humiliated, desperate, drunk -- and given parenting mores of the time, Eli would be taking all his anger and frustrations out on his little boy. That's not the case, and it gives me something else to consider about Eli for the first time ever. There's a knock on the door, and it's George. Brian answers it, and Eli sends him off to find a "veeblefetzer" to help repair the gun. So Brian heads off to find such a nonsense object, in his little sweater and tie. He leaves Eli to deal with George, who is shaking in his boots. He's heard a rumor today that the Commodore is out of commission. Eli denies it, lying that he had breakfast with him this morning: "eggs, bacon... the man loves his bacon." He's as bad a liar as he is good a father, and George isn't buying. George wants to go over and make sure, but Eli tells him not to. George tells him plain: if the Commodore isn't around to protect them from Nucky, they are all very exposed and vulnerable. Eli stands up, and George feels threatened. He surmises that it's all true, and begins to freak out at the idea of Eli and Jimmy in charge. Rightly so, I'd say. Eli drunkenly grabs George by the lapels and tells him to shut up. George keeps yelling "Let go!" and Eli keeps begging for the chance to think of something to say. George yells that he'll go straight to Nucky (uh, too late), and finally, in his panic, Eli grabs the closest thing he can find -- a wrench -- and swings it at George. He hits him in the throat, hard, crushing his windpipe. George can't breathe, and there's terror on his face. Eli doesn't know what to do now. The guy's dying in front of him. He collapses to the ground, and Eli does the only thing he can think of: he finishes the job. And since 2011 is The Year of Crushing People's Heads on Camera, we see him relentlessly bashing poor George until his skull is a flat, gooey mess. I've seen the look on Eli's face described as a smile here. I'm not sure I'm totally there. It's the desperate look of a man who can't believe it's come to this, but now that it has... hey, what's next? Brian comes running up to the garage door and calls inside that the neighbor couldn't find any veeblefetzer. Eli tells him to go back to the house; his sore throat is catching. I'll say.

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Boardwalk Empire




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